Hunger in the news

A daily selection of news reports from the world's media dealing with hunger and responses to it.
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Hunger in the news
10 February 2009

China Drought Persists, Threatening Wheat Crop

China said it had largely contained damage from its worst drought in decades, but warned that if there is no rain in the next two weeks, the winter wheat harvest could be threatened. "We will face a more daunting task in fighting drought," if there is inadequate rainfall in the next 15 days, said E Jingping, secretary-general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. With rain forecast to start Wednesday across most of the eight hardest-hit provinces, after more than 100 days without rain in some areas, government officials predicted a limited impact from the drought. The affected area is primarily in central and eastern China, covering the country's breadbasket where much of the winter wheat crop is grown.
Wall street Journal
Hunger in the news
10 February 2009

Colombo’s plea to global agencies

Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Monday said the casualties caused by the LTTE were under-reported and urged some of the international agencies to be mindful of the responsibility cast on them in disseminating information. He was talking to heads of the UN agencies based in Colombo at a meeting convened by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. [...] The Foreign Ministry said the objective of the meeting was to discuss all issues of mutual interest regarding the protection of civilians in the conflict zone. The UN Resident Coordinator along with the Representatives of UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and the Chief Security Advisor of the UN Office in Colombo were present.
The Hindu
Hunger in the news
10 February 2009

Nepal needs urgent food help, says UN

Soaring food prices have left around three million people in Nepal on the verge of starvation, according to the UN’s World Food Programme. High transportation costs, flooding and export ban by India have led to a huge deficit of food supply in several parts of the country. More than 2.7 million people in Nepal need immediate food assistance as high food prices plunge them over the edge, the World Food Programme (WFP) says. The UN agency also warned that it was running out of money and desperately needed more than $40 million to feed hungry people in the Himalayan nation. [...] "Prior to the global food crisis, the most food insecure people were in the remote mountain and hill areas of the mid and far west of Nepal," said Richard Ragan, country director for the WFP in Nepal.
One World South Asia / Reuters
Hunger in the news
10 February 2009

Pakistan fighting could uproot 600,000 people - U.N.

Fierce fighting in Pakistan's border area with Afghanistan could soon drive more than 600,000 people from their homes, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday. Spokesman Ron Redmond said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees will ramp up its relief work in northwestern Pakistan, where security has deteriorated sharply since last year. [...] Redmond said the UNHCR had no news about the fate of the American head of its office in the southwest Pakistani city of Quetta, John Solecki, who was abducted last week after gunmen ambushed his car and shot dead his driver.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
10 February 2009

Sudan: UN Kicks Off Campaign to Demobilize Ex-Combatants

More than a dozen soldiers, who fought in the long-running Sudanese civil war, today handed over their weapons at the start of a United Nations-backed demobilization programme aimed at coaxing 180,000 ex-combatants back into civilian life. [...] During the demobilization process in Ed Damazin, ex-combatants from the north and south symbolically relinquished their weapons and in return received a DDR identification card, cash, non-food items and a coupon for food rations provided by the World Food Programme (WFP).
All Africa / UN News Service
Hunger in the news
10 February 2009

Unification Minister-Designate Vows to Restore Dialogue

Hyun In-taek, the nominee for unification minister, on Monday pledged to restore inter-Korean dialogue "as soon as possible." Hyun, who has already incurred North Korea's ire, added, "The dispatch of a special envoy to the North would be one way to suggest dialogue." [...] Hyun pledged to consider humanitarian aid, including food aid through the UN World Food Programme.
Chosun Ilbo
Hunger in the news
10 February 2009

Zimbabwe opposition leader to be prime minister

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai takes the prime minister's oath Wednesday as part of a power-sharing agreement with longtime President Robert Mugabe that Zimbabweans hope will bring help as they suffer through economic and humanitarian crises. [...] The coalition agreement calls for the government to make its priority reviving an economy the opposition accuses Mugabe of destroying through corruption and mismanagement. The world's highest inflation rate has left millions of Zimbabweans dependent on international food aid to survive.
Washington Post / AP
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Food For Peace: Eisenhower's Unsung Initiative Can Be Obama's Most Powerful Tool for Peace

As President Obama tackles enormous foreign policy challenges, he would be well-advised to extract good ideas from past administrations and carry forward this "better part of history." At least one example comes from the Eisenhower administration, a time when the Cold War and nuclear weapons' fears dominated the world scene. During this turbulent period, President Eisenhower called for a peace conference. Representatives from different countries gathered to discuss topics like school lunches. Yes. That's right. School lunches. This was not the typical peace conference. It was not about disarmament, but rather food to fight hunger abroad. [...] Today, Nancy Roman of the World Food Programme writes, "To allow, now, the financial crisis to become the excuse for tossing up our hands and watching hunger multiply is foolish at best, tragic at worst."
History News Network
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Letter to the Editor: Worldwide Hunger

John Powell: “Sometimes if our food is sold in the markets it is not sold because of corruption, but maybe because locals who sell it do so in order to buy something else, like selling flour to buy rice with the money received. However, we would be very concern if cases like this happened.”
Yemen Post
Hunger in the news
9 February 2009

Myanmar needs $700 mln in cyclone aid: UN

Military-ruled Myanmar needs around $700 million in aid over the next three years to recover from last year's devastating cyclone, an aid coordinating group said on Monday. The appeal, focused on eight key areas including nutrition, health and livelihoods, comes at a time when many countries are being squeezed by the global economic crisis. [...] Last year's flash appeal for more than $470 million in aid after Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta on May 2 has raised $310 million so far. But officials from the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were confident donors would help with the three-year recovery plan. [...] Lack of new credit and access to markets have saddled many delta farmers with heavy debts, said Chris Kaye, country director for the U.N.'s World Food Programme. A survey of more than 2,000 households in October 2008 found that one in three were still in temporary shelters. Access to clean water remains a challenge.
The Hindustan Times / Reuters

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